Finding Joy

Yesterday I had the opportunity to spend time with a gifted therapist and healer and long time meditator, and he spoke to me of the need to feel joy in our lives, even when it is hard to do so.

Paramahansa Yogananda in his writings, often described experiencing the presence of God as ever new bliss and joy. On a couple of occasions, I have written about how the ancient Egyptians believed that one's capacity for experiencing joy determined one's suitability for the afterlife. Those hoping to cross over were simply asked: "Did you find joy? And, did you bring joy?"

But how can we call forth joy if it is absent or eludes us? These are certainly trying times for many...

This gifted therapist suggested that we meditate, and recall a moment or instance when we experienced deep joy and love in our lives - perhaps in a meaningful relationship - or some other occasion - and then suggested transferring this feeling directly to the Divine in meditation. Over time, our deepening connection with the Divine in meditation would lead to experiencing more joy in our lives and less loneliness or other feelings of disconnection and isolation. It seemed to me, that this would be a wonderful practice to undertake, and might be useful for any of us experiencing a lot of loss, particularly in our current economic climate...

The experience of joy comes in many forms. Certainly it is evident in our significant relationships - but joy is often hidden in the little and most unexpected experiences we have on a daily basis, that might easily be overlooked. Joy can be identified and felt in someone's unexpected embrace, a show of support, in a brief exchange, in one act of kindness or thoughtfulness. It could come in so many other ways as well...

I thought of this earlier in the day, when I reviewed some of the experiences I had yesterday. I received an email and a card in the mail from two people thanking me for the gift of one of my poetry books...

I also had the opportunity to meet with my gifted therapist friend in the morning, and in the afternoon I was able to ride over to yoga class with a yogini friend and share from the heart and exchange support for each other. I am both grateful and joyous for those experiences.

I attended a wonderful yoga class that fed my soul on so many levels - and was so joyful and lighthearted, and following that, I was able to observe another class, taught by an incredibly gifted and witty Anusara Yoga colleague - Joe Miller. His knowledge of anatomy and ability to link it directly to the Anusara Yoga Universal Principles of Alignment was nothing short of breath-taking and inspiring. I was amazed at his command of so much information that flowed so effortlessly in his instructions.

Joe taught to a packed house and was able to convey a lot of information that was esoteric in a way that was both cogent and accessible to all. I loved some of the languaging he used and took copious notes for myself. I also loved some little gems he shared along the way such as:

"Yoga is the art of moving from your center."

"VIra is courage - and implies moving into new actions and new attitudes. Yoga enables us to connect into the amazing intelligence of the body."

"When we open to grace - we create a compassionate space."

I had not planned on being able to observe Joe, so I ended my day with an unexpected joy - to witness a dedicated teacher, practitioner, and skilled and compassionate body-worker - son of a master teacher - give a multitude of awaiting hearts the gift of yoga.

What can be any more joyous than that?

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